Blog Chain Time: Does likable always equal intriguing?

j0178890It’s blog chain time again.  And can I just say I hated being last on this one.  Like REALLY.HATED.IT.   Oh well, I guess someone has to go at the end.  You all should be proud of me, however – I didn’t just resort to saying “Ditto” and linking everyone’s great answers to the topic – though I have to confess, I wanted to.

Okay, back to the actual topic…

Michelle started this round and wanted to know the following:

In your reading and writing, which do you prefer – a main character that is intriguing or one that is likeable?  Who are the characters that you love the most?  And who are the ones you love to hate?

To answer this question, I need to explain my definition of a good main character – be it the hero of the story, or the villian.  I think good characters are always three-dimension.  Real.  And, by definition, intriguing. 

Characters that are flat, underdeveloped, or two dimension are not intriguing.  And, to be honest, I tend to not finish books with characters like that.

But, three dimensional characters are flawed, tortured and  and…well…delightfully human.  I can relate to them.   Even the villians.

Okay, so back to the actual question.  Given my definition of a good main character, I obviously like intriguing characters.  But that doesn’t necessarily equate to characters I love.  Or even to characters I hate.   For me, it just means I want to get to know them.  And I’ll read a story (or many stories) to do that.  

When I write, I really strive to create three-dimension characters – ones that my readers can relate to in some way…even the deliciously evil ones.  I don’t care if they are likeable…I just want them to feel real, you know. 

So, for the second part of the question…which characters do I love, and which characters do I love to hate…Hmmm.

I love several literary characters…Kat in Hunger Games and Harry in the Harry Potter series making to top of the short list for YA.  I like them because they’re flawed, confused and desperately trying to figure out who they are…just like the rest of us.

For the characters I love to hate…my most favorite one is in one of my own stories – Seth Richards.  But for books someone besides me has heard of, I love hating Snape from Harry Potter fame…I really LOVE hating Snape.  More, I like not being able to characterize him as good or evil.  Just when I think he is beyond redepemtion, he does something heroic.  Rowlings did a brilliant job with him.  

As for others….well suffice it to say I just love complex characters – in any form!

So – what do you guys think?  Likeable or Intriguing?  Or is it an apples/oranges comparison?

For more on this “intriguing” topic visit Kat who posted before me – or any of the links in the Blog Chain.

7 thoughts on “Blog Chain Time: Does likable always equal intriguing?

  1. ahhh, very good post!😀 Rowlings really did do an excellent job with Snape. As I am one of those people who sometimes read the last page first and beg other people for details, I knew, before finishing the last book, that Harry had named one of his sons after Snape…and I was floored. Couldn’t figure out why on earth he’d do that. Until I got to that part in the book. And then you find out just how complex and incredible Snape’s character really was. I would LOVE to write a character like that one day🙂 Harry is one of my faves too.😉

  2. Excellent post. I totally forgot about Snape. He is so unjust, something I just can’t handle, but when you learn more about him, he is just as important as Harry.

    And yes, making your characters 3-dimensional is the key. If only it wasn’t so dang hard!!

  3. More, I like not being able to characterize him as good or evil. Just when I think he is beyond redepemtion, he does something heroic. Rowlings did a brilliant job with him.

    This should be something every author strives to do with his/her characters. Very, very good.

  4. Great post! My favorite type of characters are the ones that you start off hating, but then grow to love after you get to know them better. When the author can do this effectively the pay off is HUGE. It makes the characters more real and the reader is somehow more invested in them.

    Like Darcy in Pride and Prejudice or Rosa in The Book Thief.

  5. Nice post! It’s true, real characters are the best.
    My husband and I do this thing all the time where we’re watching a movie, and he asks if I like such and such a character, and many times I’ll say “Not as someone I’d be friends with, but as a character.”
    I love characters who get in all kinds of trouble even as they’re trying not to.

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